Increase output of building materials, PS urges firms

Housing and Urban Development PS Charles Hinga. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Principal Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga has challenged manufacturers to step up production outputs to meet the increasing demand brought about by affordable housing projects.

Speaking during the validation workshop for the National Housing Corporation (NHC) 2023-2027 Strategic Plan in Nairobi, Mr Hinga noted that the use of locally produced materials will help in cutting the overall cost of the housing units under the Affordable Housing Programme.

Hinga called on the manufacturers to leverage economies of scale as one way of bringing down the cost of production, which will in return see the overall cost of constructing the units lowered.

“As a government, we shall do all that is necessary, including providing infrastructure, providing land to private developers so that we are able to meet the planned units at an affordable price,” he said adding that the private sector has a big role to play in actualising the affordable housing dream.

Noting that Kenya was at par with Singapore in the 1960s, Mr Hinga said the reason why the Asian-tiger economy took off faster than Kenya was because of prudent planning of economic strategies, affecting all sectors of development.

NHC being the lead implementer of the affordable housing programme, the PS noted that the State firm will receive enough financial resources to roll out the projects across the country, as well as provide additional land for the projects.

The NHC five-year strategic plan is anchored on five major pillars namely housing, financial, estate management, research and innovation and corporate sustainability.  

Speaking at the event, NHC Managing Director David Mathu noted that the corporation plans to build over 100,000 units within five years.

“The government plans to do one million housing units by the end of the financial years 2027/2028. Of this, the corporation will undertake to construct 110,000 housing units: 100,000 units will be under the Affordable Housing Programme, 5,000 units under the commercial band and a further 5,000 as student hostel rooms,” he said.

On the research and innovation pillar, the corporation is embracing the newly built technologies in its projects that are more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

“As we embrace the digital age, it is imperative that we stay at the forefront of technological advancements. Our plan outlines specific initiatives and investments in a housing resource centre, which will be the hub of information on housing matters for scholars and researchers. This will not only keep us competitive but also pave the way for pioneering solutions,” he said.

“Moreover, sustainability is not just an aspiration; it is a responsibility we owe to the environment and future generations. The draft includes initiatives that prioritise environmentally friendly construction practices, energy efficiency, and the incorporation of green spaces into our urban developments.”

NHC Board Chairman Yusuf Chanzu noted that under the financial pillar, the corporation will be seeking to put in place a sustainable financing model, entrench collaboration with individuals and institutions and establish a financial institution that would help it deliver low-cost housing to Kenyans.

“Under the estate management pillar, the corporation will in the next five years seek to secure and conserve all its land against grabbers, offer suitable and conducive housing units, redevelop the old schemes built in the 70s and 80s and settle squatters where need be,” said Mr Chanzu.

 

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